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Plant Physiol. 2007 May;144(1):206-17. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

Nitric oxide synthase-dependent nitric oxide production is associated with salt tolerance in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Photosynthesis and Environmental Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.


Nitric oxide (NO) has emerged as a key molecule involved in many physiological processes in plants. To characterize roles of NO in tolerance of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) to salt stress, effect of NaCl on Arabidopsis wild-type and mutant (Atnoa1) plants with an impaired in vivo NO synthase (NOS) activity and a reduced endogenous NO level was investigated. Atnoa1 mutant plants displayed a greater Na+ to K+ ratio in shoots than wild-type plants due to enhanced accumulation of Na+ and reduced accumulation of K+ when exposed to NaCl. Germination of Atnoa1 seeds was more sensitive to NaCl than that of wild-type seeds, and wild-type plants exhibited higher survival rates than Atnoa1 plants when grown under salt stress. Atnoa1 plants had higher levels of hydrogen peroxide than wild-type plants under both control and salt stress, suggesting that Atnoa1 is more vulnerable to salt and oxidative stress than wild-type plants. Treatments of wild-type plants with NOS inhibitor and NO scavenger reduced endogenous NO levels and enhanced NaCl-induced increase in Na+ to K+ ratio. Exposure of wild-type plants to NaCl inhibited NOS activity and reduced quantity of NOA1 protein, leading to a decrease in endogenous NO levels measured by NO-specific fluorescent probe. Treatment of Atnoa1 plants with NO donor sodium nitroprusside attenuated the NaCl-induced increase in Na+ to K+ ratio. Therefore, these findings provide direct evidence to support that disruption of NOS-dependent NO production is associated with salt tolerance in Arabidopsis.

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